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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Electricity exports expected by 2016, says govt official

Electricity exports expected by 2016, says govt official

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090330_13.jpg

Cambodia will be ready to sell electricity produced at new hydroelectric dams by 2016, and should be energy self-sufficent by 2012, energy ministry says

Photo by: SebastiAn Strangio

Lorries are lined up at the construction site of Kamchay dam in Kampot province. The dam is one of a number of new hydroelectric projects that the government hopes will boost electricity supply in the Kingdom towards self-sufficiency by 2012.

CAMBODIA will start to export electricity  in 2016 following the completion of a series of hydropower dams in the country's west and northeast, said a senior official at the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy last week.

Ith Praing, secretary of state at the ministry, said the country would sell 1,000 megawatts of electricity in 2016 and predicted that amount would increase in subsequent years as further hydropower dams were completed.

He predicted that the Kingdom would be self-sufficient in energy by 2012.

"The government is currently studying and building some big hydroelectricity dams in the north and east of the country along the Mekong, the Srae Pok River, and the Sesan River," he said.

"We expect to get 2,000 megawatts  from these dams once they are completed in 2020."

He said the country currently uses a total of 400 megawatts, with three-quarters of that being consumed by Phnom Penh.

"From 2014, a total of five hydroelectric dams will be completed in the west of the country, and they will be able to generate 800 megawatts," Ith Praing said.

What Cambodia has to do is persuade investors to come in and build more ... dams.

A report from the ministry states that these dams are at Kamchay, Kirirom 3, the Attai River, Russey Chum, and Ta Tai River.

They are being built by companies from China and South Korea.

Victor Jona, deputy director general at the ministry's general energy department, also said Sunday that Cambodia would be in a position to export energy as it has substantial potential for hydroelectric power generation.

"Now what Cambodia has to do is persuade investors to come in and build more hydroelectric dams because the studies identifying suitable places for development have been completed," he said.

"The government is trying to balance the purchase and sale of energy with other countries in the region.

"Cambodia currently still has to import electricity - we buy 220 megawatts of energy from Vietnam along 13 transmission lines and 30 megawatts of energy from Thailand along eight transmission lines," said Victor Jona.

Regional cooperation

In 2002, Cambodia signed an intergovernmental agreement with Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, China and Myanmar that covers energy sales between the six regionally integrated nations.

Under the agreement Cambodia bought 150 megawatts to 200 megawatts last year, and will this year buy about 500 megawatts of electricity to fill the gap between what the country produces and what it needs.

Jona said the nation's energy needs were increasing by 10 percent to 15 percent annually, and that each kilowatt-hour of energy costs the nation $0.06 when imported from neighbouring Vietnam and Thailand.

Vietnam's energy ministry reported late last year that it will face a shortfall of up to 63 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) by 2015, and up to 226 billion kWh by 2020, and has begun discussions with Cambodia for future supply.

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